Huge Eviction Fills Streets at 11th and Otis, NW in Columbia Heights

Last night around 7:30pm I started getting emails like this one:

“Dear PoP,

All the residents are emptying their worldly possessions on the street. I am talking about dozens of houses…

Any idea what’s up?”

I sadly assumed it was a “normal” eviction but since I was eating dinner I decided not to investigate. Then this morning I awoke to many more emails asking the same question and I realized I made a mistake by not investigating. Anyway, I went down this morning and it is a sight like I have never seen before. And I have unfortunately seen numerous evictions around town. This one is a whole different level. First of all it is from ONE woman in ONE house. The emphasis will make sense when you see more of the photos I took.

The resident who was evicted has possessions filling up Otis St, both sides of the block between 10th and 11th. As well as 11th St towards Spring and a bit north towards Monroe as well. On both sides of the street. It really is a horrifying sight. CM Jim Graham was on the scene as were multiple police. CM Graham said that the woman has been visited by a city Social Worker last night and this morning.

At the time of my visit around 10am moving trucks had started loading up the possessions. CM Graham calls the moving company, JK Moving and Storing, his “heroes of the day”. The city was originally going to remove the possessions via city dump truck but JK Moving heard about the situation and volunteered to move the possessions for free and store them for a month at their facility in Sterling, VA near Dulles Airport. I asked the movers how many trucks they thought it would take to move the goods and they said, likely a minimum of 4-6 trucks. A very nice deed for a very sad situation.

Thanks to all who sent in tips.

All the material in the following photos originated from this house on 11th St, NW just south of Otis.

Lots more photos after the jump.

Ward 1 Council Member Jim Graham speaks to press

4-6 of these trucks from JK Moving and Storing likely needed to transport the materials.

Lots of news crews and photographers

73 Comment

  • Should have had a yard sale to pay for rent.

  • Maybe this lady should have watched the show, “Hoarders.” We’re addicted to it in our house and it had a very positive effect on me and my husband. After the first couple of shows, we started going through closets and ended up recycling and donating clothes, shoes and other things that the Salvation Army were very grateful for.

    • I, too, am strangley drawn to “Hoarders” shows with similar results. I just dropped off two big plastic bags of clothes to Goodwill today. It also makes me think really hard before impulse buying more crap!

  • saw some dudes picking through this stuff this morning. lots of cops present but i don’t think they cared.

    who gets billed for the time these police officers spend waiting around for this lady who chose to not acknowledge her eviction notice?

  • Wow, three cheers for JR Moving, but that is a sad situation. I don’t know how large those rowhouses are, but I suspect this woman was indeed a hoarder. I hope she can just find a home after this.

  • This was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.

    Heavy police presence at 13th and Spring, too, around 6pm, which apparently resulted from a foot chase of a kid (possibly related to the eviction, according to a neighbor). We were very worried that it had been a shooting, given that there were 6-8 MPD officers searching the 3600 block for anything the kid might’ve ditched during the chase. One officer said they were looking for drugs or weapons; our neighbors actually spotted the bag of weed (or at least that’s what it looked like) that he apparently dropped.

    Crazy, crazy night.

    • I am trying to find out more as well. The MPD blanketing did indeed make it look like a shooting. ANC 4C06

      • Well, from what we heard from the neighbors who were home, no one heard gunshots prior to the chase. And as far as we could tell, no weapon was found – just the bag of pot on the sidewalk. MPD seemed to be wrapping up shortly after our neighbors pointed out the bag to the officers. They’d cleared out by about 7pm. But if you do hear anything more, please post back – I’d be interested in knowing the actual story.

    • Wait so you turned in the bag of weed to the cops?

      sheesh that just broke my heart, I’m about to roll me a doobie now.

      • Seriously??? I don’t even smoke it and this broke my heart. Julian and Ricky would be turning over in their graves if they weren’t still alive and totally stoned.

        • Hey, not us – the neighbors. And it was smack in the middle of the sidewalk, so as soon as the cop walked another 10 feet he was going to see it. Don’t know about you guys, but even if I did smoke, I’m not going to be scooping up possible evidence right in front of MPD.

  • I don’t see JR Movers as heroes. I just see the horder lady as a deadbeat.

  • This is making national news. Story on CNN popped up just as I was reading this.

  • Sounds like from the story and the additional info from the link posted above that this lady moved all of this out herself? Did she have the entire rowhouse? She must have given the amount of stuff shown in the pictures.

    Wow. Just, wow.

  • Has JR Moving said what they are going to do with all of this woman’s stuff if/when she can’t pay for its storage beyond 1 month, or to move it to another residence? I worked at a moving company once upon a time, and every six months or so, we auctioned off all the stored items of people who were months behind on storage fees.

  • Make room for hiptards!

  • It’s always sad when people get evicted, but this is an enourmous amount of stuff, even for a whole house. Agree that this woman probably has a hoarding problem. I don’t think all of my wordly possessions would fill one of these blocks.

    It’s been picked up by MSNBC now, too.

    • Now we just need Fox News:

      “Breaking News! Obama’s failed economic initiatives lead to mass eviction! Entire city neighborhood now homeless.”

  • I wonder how many cats she owns.

  • I just read the link that Markus posted and according to one of the comments at the end, she was renting a room in the house to a gentleman, who came home from work to find his stuff on the street too.

  • I live across the street, and there’s no way to show in pictures how intense this is. The stuff is literally piled 4-5 feet deep for blocks around.

  • This poor person. She must be humiliated and terrified.

  • I certainly feel bad for this renter and her situation. However, the tbd article notes that she’s been evicted lots of times previously, including just last year.

    feeling a little less bad for her now.

    • yeah its really not that sad. she managed to collect TONS of junk in less than one years time but couldn’t find a job? priorities?

      Plus she did say she was relieved herself.

  • I know not everyone has empathy for people like this but it’s a mental illness. I feel bad for this person. Her stuff probably means more to her than you can imagine. I hope DC can offer her some help.

    • Honest questions. What makes this a mental illness? Are all socially inept behaviors by nature an illness? Or is there really a specific mental condition that forces people to fill their house with junk?

      When does, “I’m just too busy/lazy to clean up today” turn to a hoarding mental illness?

      Just curious since everyone wants to diagnose.

      • I talked to my GP and hoarding is pretty legit in terms of mental illness.

        It’s not like “I feed my kids MT Dew and Fruit loops for breakfast, but that’s not why he has ADD”.

      • It’s like an obsessive-compulsive or anxiety disorder. The hoarding is a symptom/manifestation of the mental illness, not the mental illness itself.

  • American society and culture is so consumer driven, so possession driven, so materially driven, that at the edges of the society, you’re gonna have hoarders like this who exercise it in the extreme. The culture needs to change for a lot of reasons, add these folks to the list.

  • At least the weather cooperated …

  • Are you sure it is JR Moving? The truck says JK, and JK has a storage facility in Sterling.

    JR or JK, they are doing this block a huge favor by moving this stuff, so I want to make sure that they get the recognition they deserve.

  • This is rough — I have a feeling this woman is older and doesn’t have any family around to help her. Hoarding is a mental disease much like any other. And this eviction must be humiliating.
    Hopefully she’ll accept some help from the city social workers.

  • just sad, sad, sad on a lot of fronts. from a compassionate and selfish standpoint, i’m glad she’s getting help from JR Moving and also hopefully city services or other aid groups. before you judge her, recognize that you’ve got just slivers of information. and regardless, i hope the spectacle dies down, though i suppose the media coverage helped galvanize some of the support.

  • From the TBD article:

    Diaz said she was also evicted from her apartment on Rock Creek Church Road a year ago. She abandoned her belongings there.

    And she said she accumulated all of the stuff that was pulled from her Northwest home within the past year. She says she’s been evicted many times before, but the latest is “the most historic.” She hasn’t worked full-time in 2.5 years, but has done odd jobs. She is currently three months behind on her rent, she said.

    • So, now we know where all the “free stuff” advertised around the city ends up.

      Why do people continue to rent to her?

      • This has got to be wrong.

        I live there and talking to my neighbors, they said she has indeed sent stuff to Venezeula in shipping containers in the past.

        Beyond that, it just doesn’t add up. It would be an incredible feat to collect all the stuff in a single year, and if she was evicted after only 3 months on non-payment, that would be a first in DC. It usually takes landlords 6 months or more and involves going to court.

        • Yea, well, I wouldn’t put much faith in what an obviously mentally-ill person like this claims. No way she accumulated this all in one year, nor that she has only not paid rent for 3 months.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    Wow and I thought I had a lot of stuff! Just moved in June but only need one truck with room to spare. This is so sad.

  • No sympathy here for the landlord?

    • Exactly! The landlord was the one that had to pay for this eviction. I’m sure that will be 2k that they will never see again.

    • If the landlord checked the woman’s references and was mislead as to her rental and employment history, than yes I feel sympathy. Otherwise, not really.

  • No sympathy here for the landlord?
    Evictions don’t happen by themselves.

    • Actually no.

      The house is in serious disrepair. I am sure there are a hundred housing code violations going on there.

      • People pick the residence they want to rent.

        If every place in town had 5 star decor and SS appliances all it means is that every place in town would be super expensive and out of reach for vast majority of people.

        As a landlord, I can tell you also that vast majority of damage occurs because renters don’t care and treat your stuff like crap. Which in turn, makes many landlords very apprehensive about decorating and making any rental unit look nice unless it’s really high end.

  • Oh wow… you can’t help but wonder what quality of life this woman was maintaining in that building with all this stuff. Hoarders, indeed. (Sidenote: I feel guilty whenever I watch that show – a “rubbernecking the car accident” kind of feeling – same with these photos.) sigh.

  • Where is the line drawn between mental illness and someone who doesn’t respect/obey laws governing our society? I’ve never been able to understand that completely. Does a thief have a mental illness that causes him to steal from others, although he knows it’s illegal?

    Not sure when to feel bad for someone or say “shame on you”, since the people affected are usually the reasonable people (landlords, etc.), and victims of another persons illness. Shouldn’t we feel bad for them?

  • speaking from a social worker, hoarding is indeed a mental illness and is usually co-morbid with other diseases as well. though, my ex-boyfriend is a hoarder. when i kicked him out of my apartment, i threw away piles and piles and boxes of newspapers and collected crap. it was the best thing i ever did for him. they are doing her no favor by simply storing her possessions. what she needs is a good throw out and some counseling, probably medication too. sad story all around.

    • I think you hit the nail on the head. While we can all feel sympathy for the plight, clearly allowing the situation to persist is not in anyone’s interest.

    • I was thinking the same thing, however, I really doubt that the moving company has a soft spot in their heart for hoarders. They’re probably betting that she won’t be able to pay the storage fee, and they’ll be able sell it all off for a profit. Meanwhile, the man-hours used to load the trucks is probably a charitable write-off.

      The only way I’d consider them “heroes” is if they donated it all to charity later on.

  • I commend whoever was patient & helpful enough to put all that stuff into boxes. Where I live, evictions result in crap just being tossed in random piles all over the sidewalk, half of it loose paper that just blows into the street!

  • Now we know where all of the free stuff we put in our front yards ends up…

  • I should have noted that while I feel sorry for this woman and the situation in which she finds herself, I also understand that evictions don’t happen overnight and that she should have been paying her rent. I wouldn’t want to dispense sympathy without disclaimers here!

    “Or is there really a specific mental condition that forces people to fill their house with junk?”

    From what I’ve read (not a psychologist) I think its along the same lines as the mental condition that “forces” people to wash their hands 50 times a day. It’s a compulsion.

  • um, she was stockpiling donations people thought were going to foreign countries. sounds like fraud, not “hoarding”…

  • Someone left a comment on TBD that said she was renting out a room in the house and never let the renter know about the impending eviction (or that she wasn’t using his money to pay the rent) – so she just took $400 from him every month including the day before the eviction happened. Anyone know if this is true?

  • This story is now national news because the video of all the hoarders’ junk on the street, coming from ONE house, is so compelling.
    Remind me to go up into the spare room tonight with a pitchfork and some trash bags. At least all the stuff I have is donatable. Hoarders will accumulate broken items and back issues of old newspapers until the stuff turns to pure mildew.

  • This INSANE policy that allows landlords to litter city streets in DC is yet another reason why this city is so uber screwed up. The landlord should have to store this stuff for a 30-60 period and if the renter can’t come up with the cash to get the stuff and pay storage, auction time. Should be a cost of being a landlord. It is almost everywhere else in the western world – except frigging DC.

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